Weeks after ForbesLife India brought the latest news for Kareena Kapoor, her husband announced that they were expecting their first child in December. Almost on cue, speculation was rife about whether her pending projects would be shelved, or whether she would at all continue to work after motherhood.
One may find the answer in her gumption about working “till the end of her life”. Career, motherhood and family: Kareena believes women can have it all if they want. “When I was getting married, many had predicted my career was over. I think I am the only Bollywood A-lister to get a career and a marriage going on full-fledged; to have worked in as many movies, if not more, after marriage as I have done before. Saif and I are on the same page on this. He tells me never to give up my career,” she says. “Saif is a modern man. He tells me that if he’s going out to work, it’s a little selfish to expect that I should sit at home.”
Actor Arjun Kapoor believes Kareena’s spirited defence of work is not merely a facade. “It’s not for effect. She means every word of it,” says the actor who starred with Kareena in R Balki’s Ki & Ka (2016). “The excitement that she has on the sets today is like a child. Her thirst for work now is just like what she had 16 years ago.”
In her penchant for work, Kareena has broken away from the tradition of the Kapoor clan in which the women, specifically Raj Kapoor’s daughters-in-law, mostly actors, have had to give up a career on the silver screen after marriage. Among them was Kareena’s mother, yesteryear actor Babita, who married the doyen’s elder son Randhir. But Kareena insists that it’s Babita who propelled her to work even after marriage. “When I was getting married, my mother specifically asked me not to give up my career,” she says. “I got married on October 16, and on the 23rd, I was to shoot the ‘Fevicol’ song for Dabangg 2 (2012). I asked Saif if he was ok with it since it was an item song. He was absolutely gung-ho. I’m sure not too many people would have gone ahead with it within a week of their marriage.”
In fact, Kareena knew from a very young age, as early as four or five, that she was going to be an actor. In a 2002 episode of her show Rendezvous with Simi Garewal, actor and talk show host Simi Garewal recounts that once, when she called up the Kapoor household in the ’80s, Kareena answered the phone and introduced herself as someone who “is going to be an actor”. Reminded of the incident, Kareena has a hearty laugh. “I was too much of a child back then I suppose. But, yes, I always knew I was going to act. Don’t ask me how, I have no answers.”